ISEC 2005

Inclusive and Supportive Education Congress
International Special Education Conference
Inclusion: Celebrating Diversity?

1st - 4th August 2005. Glasgow, Scotland

about the conference

Inclusion of Deaf Pupils in Scotland:
achievements, strategies and services

Marian Grimes and Dr Audrey Cameron, The University of Edinburgh


Marian Grimes is a Research Associate with the Achievements of Deaf Pupils in Scotland project, based at Edinburgh University.   Marian is hearing.

Dr Audrey Cameron has recently graduated from the Postgraduate Certificate in Education programme at Edinburgh University.   Audrey is Deaf.

Throughout the paper, the term ‘deaf’ will be used to describe the full range of hearing loss levels, unless otherwise qualified.   When the 'd' is capitalised, this refers to those who positively identify with a linguistic and cultural minority, the Deaf Community.  

In this paper we begin by setting out recent legislative and policy developments, which aim to ensure that Scottish deaf pupils in mainstream schools have full access to the curriculum and enable them to participate in education to the fullest extent.   However, we go on to provide statistical evidence that deaf children generally under-attain .   In section three we raise concerns about the socio-cultural implications of the lack of opportunity for some deaf pupils to develop confident 'different centre' identities within a normalising mainstream environment.   In sections four and five, we provide a range of different types of evidence to illustrate factors which are likely to affect both attainment and confidence among some of these pupils.

While some recent developments give room for optimism, others do not, and we conclude by contending that there is a need to learn from evidence which is already available and to continue to monitor the achievements and experiences of deaf pupils in both large and small-scale studies.

1. Legislation and policy context

Scotland has a special significance in the history of the education of deaf children in Great Britain, as the first special school for deaf children was opened in Edinburgh in the early 1760s.   Although Scottish education has been autonomous since before this date, special legislation and policy developments related to the education of deaf children in Scotland have moved in similar ways to those in the rest of the UK.   Thus there has been a similar growing legal pressure towards placing deaf children in mainstream education rather than in special schools, spurred on by the landmark ‘Warnock Report’ (DES, 1978).   In 1983 there were thirteen schools for deaf children in Scotland; by 1994 there were nine (BATOD 1984 and 1995), and by 2001 there were only five (ADPS, 2005a).  


There has also been a similar shift of discourse from Warnock’s concept of ‘integration’ towards the notion of ‘inclusion’ which, arguably, more categorically places responsibility on mainstream schools to adapt to any access requirements of pupils, rather than the onus being on the pupils to do the adapting. A primary headteacher is quoted by the Scottish HMI report ‘Count Us In’ (HMIE, 2002) as saying:

‘All staff work towards inclusion rather than integration.   With integration, the child fits into the school.   With inclusion, the school adjusts to the child’

Thus, the Standards in Scotland’s Schools Act (Scotland, 2000), as well as upping the inclusion ante by ‘presuming’ mainstream education unless certain exemptions apply, also triggered the establishment, by statutory instrument, of five ‘National Priorities’ for all schools, one of which specifically relates to inclusion and equality (Scottish Executive, 2005).

 Anti-discrimination legislation has bolstered this, with educational authorities having legal duties not to discriminate against individual pupils on the basis of disability (Great Britain, 2001) and to plan strategies to increase accessibility (Scotland, 2002).    Although the anti-discrimination legislation covers neither the provision of auxiliary aids and services nor physical adaptations of schools, it is expected that the legislation, regulations and guidance of the ‘SEN (or ASL) Framework’ (including the recent ‘Additional Support for Learning [ASL] Act [Scotland, 2004]) makes provision in these areas (DRC, 2002:9-15).

In addition, there have been other major developments which one would expect to enhance curriculum access for deaf pupils.  

For example, technical advancements in aids to hearing, such as cochlear implantation, digital hearing aids and environmental amplification systems are improving the capacity of amplification as a strategy for some pupils' access.    The Newborn Hearing Screening programme aims to ensure that deaf children are enabled to develop age-appropriate language as early as possible by diagnosing deafness, by definition, from birth.

Also, Scotland has led the way in the area of access to external examinations through British Sign Language (BSL).   Its exam board, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), now allows candidates to receive questions as well as to make their responses in BSL.   Furthermore, as a result of the Westminster government's recognition of BSL as a minority language in 2003, the Scottish Executive recently committed itself to funding initiatives to promote BSL as one of the minority languages of Scotland.

The assumption is that all of these measures ensure that deaf pupils have sufficient access to the curriculum to enable them to secure the:

‘development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person to their fullest potential’ (Scotland, 2000:1).

In fact, in a recent letter (December 2004) to the Scottish Council on Deafness, the Education Minister for Scotland demonstrates confidence that this is the case:

‘In addition to the system put in place by the ASL Act, and the funding the Executive provides to support the training of classroom staff, there is a range of measures in place to ensure that deaf pupils are able to participate fully in the education system.’

So, what evidence do we have that deaf pupils are being enabled to participate fully and to achieve their educational potential?

Measures of attainment, chiefly through tests and examinations, are the most obvious way to gauge standards of educational achievement.   While there are strong arguments on their limitations generally, which won’t be addressed here, they at least provide a means whereby deaf children’s level of attainment can be directly compared to that of hearing children.   As the HM Senior Chief Inspector of Scotland recently put it:

'…inclusion must never be used to excuse poor standards.'
(HMIE, 2002:1)

We will therefore look first at evidence of deaf children's educational attainment.

2. Standards of educational attainment

Deaf children, as far as is known, have a similar range of intelligence (Marschark, 1997:153-5) - and the same capacity for language (Brennan, 1999:2) - as that of hearing children.   However, the general picture has, historically, been one of deaf pupils' under-achievement compared to their hearing peers.

The year after the publication of the Warnock Report (DES, 1978), Reuben Conrad (1979) published research which demonstrated, among other things, that profoundly deaf school-leavers had a mean reading age of 9 years.   Twenty years later, a wide-ranging literature review commissioned by the DfEE, and published in 1998 (Powers et al, 1998:8), concluded that:

 ‘we have no evidence to demonstrate an overall significant improvement in the education of deaf children since Conrad’s study’.

Concerns over this situation as well as anecdotal evidence of under-achievement, led to the establishment of the Achievements of Deaf Pupils in Scotland Project at the University of Edinburgh in 2000, with funding from the Scottish Executive Education Department.   The core of the project is a central database of deaf children in education, updated on a yearly basis; information is collected on achievement and factors which may affect achievement (eg level of hearing loss, placement etc).

Although there are no fixed-time annual testing procedures in Scotland, as there are in England and Wales, up until this year (2005), Scottish primary and lower secondary teachers delivered National Tests in Reading, Writing and Maths when they felt the child was ready to undertake the next of six available levels of test in that subject.   Levels were labelled A-F, with A (perhaps confusingly) being the lowest level.   Appendix 1 shows the levels pupils were expected to achieve in specific year groups.   Early ADPS findings indicate that deaf pupils are significantly lagging behind hearing pupils in all year groups.  

Charts 1 and 2 show examples of this achievement gap in the first two years of the project.  

Results from the top year group in primary school (P7) are shown, where most pupils are expected to have achieved level D in all three subjects.   In both hearing and deaf groups, children at schools and units for pupils with learning difficulties (‘SEN’) are excluded.   Deaf pupils included are those which ADPS categorises as ‘Group A’.    These are:

When pupils in ‘SEN’ schools/units are excluded, as in these charts, approximately 90% of them are in mainstream placements.

Chart 1

Chart 2

Similarly, in upper-school certificated qualifications, there is evidence of underachievement.   Chart 3 shows that there is a relatively low percentage of deaf pupil passes at higher levels compared to hearing peers.

Chart 3

All of these figures do include individual examples of average or above average levels of achievement.    But these are exceptions rather than the rule, and deaf pupils as a group continue to underachieve.

Thus, despite the confidence that inclusion-related developments are facilitating full participation, deaf children are clearly not achieving their potential in straightforward attainment terms.   

3. A 'different centre'

We are acutely aware that statistical attainment information is only one part of the deaf pupil achievement story.    As previously mentioned, there is a legislative commitment to the development of the ‘personality and talents’ as well as the ‘mental and physical abilities’ of Scottish pupils (Scotland, 2000).   The Scottish Executive Curriculum Review Group gives high priority to the 'mental and emotional wellbeing' of all pupils (Scottish Executive, 2004). However, there is a burgeoning literature which represents the level of dissatisfaction felt by many young deaf adults across the UK who only become aware, after leaving school, of the relevance to them of the concept of ‘deaf identity’.    There is evidence of bitterness that normalising assumptions underpinning their mainstream school situations can deny them the opportunity to develop what has been coined by Padden and Humphries (1988) as a ‘different centre’.   As deaf ex-pupil Jill Jones recently put it:

‘Deaf children (of hearing families) have to learn to be Deaf. Having only hearing people to identify with means that, despite having wires and receivers emanating from one’s head, by some magical process one is a hearing person . (Deaf Ex-Mainstreamers’ Group, 2004:5)

A recent report from the UK government's Department of Health links this situation to a higher estimate of mental health problems among deaf children (40%) compared to that among hearing children (25%) (Department of Health, 2005:3).

The opportunity to develop British Sign Language and access curriculum and assessment via this language is intrinsically linked to this.   It needs to be stressed that BSL is a distinct visual-spatial language, with its own rules of grammar and syntax, which do not equate with those of spoken language.   It can be fully acquired naturally by profoundly deaf children, in a way which is not possible for spoken language. (Brennan, 1999), even where spoken language is supported by signs borrowed from BSL - a communication mode known as Sign Supported English.

However, it is clear that significant barriers to curriculum access through BSL remain in place in Scotland, as is the case in the UK as a whole.    Space precludes us from exploring the reasons for this within this paper, but anecdotal evidence illustrates that BSL is rarely promoted as a positive option to hearing parents (over 90% of the parents of deaf children) when their child is diagnosed as deaf.   Brennan (1999:3-4) quotes a number of examples from influential professional texts, which assume a ‘de facto oral' approach in the education of deaf children and asks:

‘How often – be honest – have you heard – or even used – the expressions, “This deaf child does not need BSL”; “This deaf child can manage without signing”; “Your child will be able to cope without signing”? Do we ever use these expressions about other languages? Do we ever say, “This child can manage without English”? Imagine the horror if we did.'

Evidence from interviews undertaken recently by ADPS staff with post-school education students and staff illustrates the point:

‘Sometimes parents might be trying to keep the child in a hearing world with no information about deaf people.    I grew up in a hearing world all my life…If I'd had interpreters as opposed to note-takers it would have been better.   I never had the opportunity to use an interpreter.    It would have helped me to have had a better education’ (1 st year FE student).

‘A lot of deaf students come from schools which are oral.   If you put them into a university lecture, the chances of them being able to access the lecture, even at the front, are very limited. ’ (FE Support Lecturer)

‘We have a student just now who is coping in an HND class because it’s a smallish class (he’s going to an HEI next year)…English language is an issue for him.   He doesn’t sign, but he’s starting a BSL class because he isn’t getting enough info.’ (FE Support Lecturer)

Brennan (op cit:9) also argues strongly that the lack of opportunity to develop BSL naturally from birth can disadvantage the language development of some deaf children, and thereby be a contributing factor to under-attainment:

‘a crucial difference between the approach of those supporting a spoken language only approach and those supporting a bilingual approach is that the former are ready to accept delay in language development – up to and beyond school age…Delay in the acquisition of a first language need not be a necessary corollary of deafness.’


Appendix 2 shows the range of strategies which a deaf child may use to access the curriculum.   The table details strategies based on English, (under the headings of amplification, lipreading, reading text and sign systems based on spoken English) and strategies based on British Sign Language (BSL).   It stresses the fact that pupils will use different strategies/combinations of strategies in different learning situations.

It should be emphasised that the major developments in technology referred to in the previous section, while undoubtedly enhancing the quality of English-based access strategies (see Appendix 2), still do not negate the argument for the promotion of BSL acquisition as a positive option (ie as opposed to it only being a ‘last resort’ option).

So, how many pupils are currently using BSL to access the curriculum in mainstream settings?   In 2001/02 ADPS gathered information on languages/communication modes used by 1379 ‘Group A’ pupils.    106 of these used BSL to some extent in accessing the curriculum in mainstream settings, 72 of whom were in schools with a specialist resource base for deaf pupils.   In the latter situation, the base is sometimes used as a teaching space where pupils are withdrawn for group/individual tutorial work – but most bases aim for pupils to spend as much time in mainstream as possible.

The role of the teacher of the deaf in the mainstream class situation can include back-up teaching as well as facilitation/co-ordination of pupil access strategies.   A range of other staff, including auxiliaries, also provide access services.

In order to fully participate in the mainstream classroom, those pupils who are accessing the curriculum through BSL require translation of what is said by the mainstream teacher (and other pupils during class discussions) as well as translation of their own contributions into spoken English.    Simultaneous translation from one language to another is a highly skilled process, requiring appropriately high levels of both languages as well as specific interpreting skills and professional competence.

There are three levels of qualification in BSL - the first of which is very basic - and a further qualification in BSL/English interpreting skills.    It seems reasonable to expect that full inclusion of the BSL-using deaf pupil within the mainstream classroom requires that access staff should have advanced level (Level 3) BSL language skills as well as, ideally, BSL/English interpreting competence.

Furthermore, in order to fully include a deaf pupil in his or her class, it would seem fair to assume that the mainstream teacher needs to have expectations of a deaf pupil which are commensurate with the pupil’s abilities and potential, and to engage directly with the pupil, whether or not there is another specialist member of support staff present.

We will now go on to look at recent ADPS evidence of BSL skill levels of staff who work in support/access roles with profoundly deaf BSL-using pupils in Scotland, before focussing on a recent observation study which investigates mainstream teachers' direct engagement with deaf pupils.

4. Support/access staff who work with BSL-using pupils

In 2002/03, teachers of deaf children returned information to ADPS on qualifications of staff supporting 55 of the 102 profoundly deaf children in full time mainstream placements (20 of whom were in schools with a resource base for deaf pupils).

Of these 55 profoundly deaf pupils, 14 used BSL to some extent, only 2 of whom were supported by staff with a BSL/English interpreting qualification and, in each case, this was only for one hour a week (with 9 hours of support each, from staff at BSL Level 2).  

 In addition:

In most cases, other specialist staff with lower (or no) BSL qualifications are involved with the pupil, and there is still a wide range in the total number of hours provided.

This significant variation in hours of support/access services provided among authorities is a disturbing in itself, as are such low levels of BSL qualifications among staff providing access for BSL-using pupils.   This does not go un-noticed by pupils, as illustrated by this extract from an ADPS interview with an ex-pupil about his school experiences:

'The teacher of the deaf would become like an interpreter but not really an interpreter. So I'd be in science and the teacher for the deaf would be there helping me by signing what the teacher said…I had friends who were taking notes and stuff down, and I was thinking, "Where did you get that information from? I don't have that information.   Why has the teacher of the deaf not told me that?"'
(1 st year further education student)

There is undoubtedly a resource issue, not just in terms of funding for staff training, but in the scarcity of opportunities; there remains an acute shortage of readily -accessible training at advanced level in Scotland.   It is to be hoped that the recognition of BSL as a minority language will continue to drive the momentum already in evidence, as detailed in section 1 above, and enable services to build the BSL/English interpreting capacity of specialist staff by funding training opportunities.

It is worth pointing out that only one member of the staff supporting the 55 profoundly deaf pupils had a qualification in note-taking, which indicates that this access strategy is also under-resourced.

So, in addition to demonstrating evidence that deaf children are under-achieving academically, we also posit that there is cause for concern that some deaf pupils may be psychologically and linguistically   disadvantaged by restrictions in the opportunities to exploit BSL as a first language of access to the curriculum.  

A further area for concern is how well mainstream teachers adapt their situations to include deaf pupils.   As mentioned, one aspect of this is the level of direct engagement with pupils. In the following section we will focus on an observation study undertaken by one of us (Audrey Cameron) who will use the first person voice to describe the study.

5. Mainstream teacher engagement with bilingual deaf pupils

I recently completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and developed an interest the use of ‘Questioning’ as an important aspect of educational development.

It is well established (eg Wellington, 2000; Kissock, 1982) that there are good pedagogical reasons for asking questions in a classroom, including the following:

I was interested in noting whether the mainstream teachers actually involved their deaf pupils by questioning or explaining directly. However, after researching the literature in the field of deaf education, I found no evidence of studies having been carried out on the importance/ impact of questioning of deaf pupils in mainstream classes.   

During a teaching placement, I carried out some classroom observations.

In that observational study, I endeavoured to shed some light on this situation by   shadowing a group of four S1 (first year secondary) deaf pupils in a mainstream school which has a resource base for deaf pupils.

These deaf pupils communicated by British Sign Language and English (‘sign-bilingual’) and the specialist teachers of deaf children (ToDs) had a dual role – as an interpreter and as a teacher.   The ToDs worked hard to transmit information to the deaf pupils in every lesson, ensuring that the pupils received the same information as the rest of the class.   However, the deaf pupils were not able to get involved with the “question and answer session” with the rest of the class.   Out of 6 lessons, only one question was asked by the mainstream teacher which was directly aimed at a deaf pupil.

Therefore, further research/observation was focused on communications within a classroom – specifically on classes with profoundly deaf pupils who communicate via sign language – to find out why deaf pupils do not have the same opportunity to answer questions posed by the mainstream teachers as their hearing peers.

Two schools were investigated. Both schools have a resource base for deaf pupils and both schools believe in encouraging deaf pupils to experience secondary school in a similar way to their hearing peers.   Seven classes (English and Science) were selected for observation.

The number of questions and answers were recorded in each class and the role of the ToD was also observed – an interpreter or as a teacher.   Locations of the mainstream teacher, ToD and deaf pupil were also noted.

Findings revealed that:

Chart 4    Number of different types of questions asked throughout S1 English lesson

Most pupils used the ‘hands up’ mode and the mainstream teacher was in control of 89% of the questions.   Because she had control of most of the questions, she should have been able to direct the questions to specific pupils and decide when and from whom to receive answers.   But the deaf pupil did not receive any.  

By observing both teachers, it was found that the mainstream teacher’s and hearing pupils’ questions were not translated by the ToD to the deaf pupil at all! The ToD was teaching the deaf pupil by herself and asking her questions.   Therefore a working partnership between the mainstream teacher and the ToD was not observed.

Chart 5       Did the ToD translate questions for the deaf pupil on time?

At this point we will return to collaborative voice.

Although the seven lessons observed in this project are too small in number to permit valid statistical treatment, and should be considered only in an ethnographic sense, one can still draw conclusions which resonate with earlier sections of this paper, in raising cause for concern about the participation of deaf pupils.

As in the last section, the negative impact when ToDs in bilingual situations have low levels of BSL (and, in this case, subject knowledge) is an issue.   Powers (1999) stated that, if the deaf pupils are finding it difficult to follow the lesson they can become bored and restless and consequently either withdraw or become a nuisance to others.   Either way, it is highly likely that their learning is adversely affected.   Similarly, the limitations of inappropriate seating location with poor field of vision can cause interference with the learning process, an observation endorsed by Pickersgill (1998).


The wait times found in this study were similar to those found by Swift and Gooding (1983) where the mean wait time in 40 science classes was 1.25 seconds.   According to findings from Black et al (2002), increasing the wait time for answers can be beneficial for all pupils, as it leads to more pupils being involved in question and answer discussions, and to an increase in the length of their replies.   Many teachers in schools find it hard to allow longer wait time but the findings demonstrated that pupils gained much confidence in replying with longer answers.   They concluded that more effort has to be spent in composing questions that are worth asking, i.e. questions which explore issues that are critical to the development of pupils’ understanding.  

We have shown that it is particularly worthwhile to wait longer for an answer where deaf pupils are in a class, as this will allow the deaf pupils to get involved too.   Deaf children need to have available a wide range of question forms to meet their learning needs just like their hearing peers.   Current curriculum and assessment developments in Scotland (Scottish Executive, 2004; LTS, 2005) are further raising the profile of classroom dialogue as a focal point of learning and so consideration needs to be taken of the particular situation of deaf pupils where a wait time is pertinent (note that this includes those non BSL-users who do not receive full information from amplification and/or lipreading).

6. Summary and concluding comments

We have shown that, although there is apparent confidence from the Scottish government that deaf children are able to participate fully in an education system which presumes mainstream education, deaf pupils continue to under-achieve.

A range of evidence, including statistical and observational data, in sections four and five inform our suggestion that for some mainstream pupils, under-attainment can be at least partly explained by:

Therefore, despite the positive potential of the legislative and policy developments, described in section 1, we argue that it is not yet possible to demonstrate that deaf children as a population are being enabled to develop their potential.

Further more, although it is fair to say that planned new developments may over time address some of these issues (eg increased funding for mainstream staff awareness training; increased funding for BSL language and interpreting training), there is little evidence of a shared ' linguistic access' discourse among policy makers and local authority managers in planning future service developments for deaf children.   For example, a recent Audit Scotland/HMIE report, 'Moving to Mainstream: The Inclusion of Pupils with Special Educational Needs in Mainstream' (2003), demonstrates an underpinning medical rather than linguistic discourse, by focusing exclusively on acoustics and audiology when detailing access/support needs for deaf pupils.   Also, the first round of mandatory local authority 'Accessibility Strategy' documents display a confusing array of approaches in policy statements regarding deaf pupils.  

In conclusion, then, we suggest that there is already much to learn from the kind of evidence described in this paper, which can inform policy and practice within a framework of linguistic access.   In the light of the evidence presented here, we also conclude that the confidence of the Scottish government in the existing opportunities for full participation in mainstream education by deaf pupils is premature.   Given the causes for concern which we raise, there is a pressing need for continued investigation of attainment, pupil/ex-pupil experiences and classroom observations in order to monitor impact of policy developments and to continue to identify ways forward.

The ADPS project has established an unprecedented basis for longitudinal investigation and in-depth satellite studies, and the Scottish Executive is to be commended in providing the funding for this.   However, the potential for ADPS to provide the basis for continued monitoring will be lost without further funding.   At the time of writing Scottish Executive funding has ended and new sources of funding are being sought.   It is to be hoped that other funding will be found to enable this unique potential to be exploited.  


ADPS (2005a) The Achievements of Deaf Pupils in Scotland website: http:// ps/survey/placement

Audit Scotland/HMIE (2003) 'Moving to Mainstream: The Inclusion of Pupils with Special Educational Needs in Mainstream' . Edinburgh: Audit Scotland.

Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B. and William, D. Working inside the black box: assessment for learning in the classroom. London: King’s College.

Brennan, M.(1999) Challenging Linguistic Exclusion in Deaf Education. Deaf Worlds, Deaf People, Community and Society. 15(1), 2-10.   

British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD) (1984) '1983 Survey on Staffing, Salaries, Numbers of Hearing-Impaired Children and use of Manual Communication'. The Journal of the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf, 8(1), 11-15.

British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD) (1995) 'BATOD Survey 1994: Scotland'. The Journal of the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf, 19(3), 74-85.

Conrad, R. (1979) The Deaf School Child.  London, England: Harper and Row.

Deaf Ex-Mainstreamers’ Group (2003) Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Wakefield: Deaf Ex-Mainstreamers’ Group.

Department of Education and Science (DES) (1978) Special Educational Needs: Report of the Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People (The Warnock Report). London: HMSO.

Department of Health (2005) Mental Health and Deafness: Towards Equity and Access. London: The Stationery Office

Available on the Department of Health website

Disability Rights Commission (DRC) (2002) Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Part 4: Code of Practice for Schools. London: The Stationery Office

Available on DRC website

Great Britain (2001) Special Educational Needs and Disability Act. London: The Stationery Office.

Great Britain (1980) The Education (Scotland) Act. London: HMSO.

HMIE (2002) Count Us In: Achieving Inclusion in Scottish Schools’. Edinburgh, The Stationery Office.

Kissock, C. and Lyortsuun, P. (1982) A Guide to Questionning – classroom procedures for teachers. London: MacMillan.

Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) (2005) Assessment is For Learning Website (accessed March 2005)

Marschark, M (1997) Raising and Educating a Deaf Child. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Padden and Humphries (1988) Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture. New York: Harvard University Press.

Pickersgill, M. and Gregory, S. (1998) Sign Bilingualism. Wembley: Adept Press (a LASER publication).

Powers, S. (1999) Deaf and hearing impaired pupils learning mainly via aided hearing’ in Watson, L., Gregory, S. and Powers, S. (eds) Deaf and hearing impaired pupils in mainstream schools. London: David Fulton Publishers.

Powers, S., Gregory, S. and Thoutenhoofd, E. (1998).   ‘The Educational Achievements of Deaf Children’ (Research report RR65)   Nottingham, England: Department for Education and Employment.

Scotland (2004) Education (Additional Support for Learning) Act (Scotland). Edinburgh, The Stationery Office.

Scotland (2002) Education (Disability Strategies and Pupils’ Educational Records) (Scotland) Act. Edinburgh: The Stationery Office.

Scotland (2000) Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act. Edinburgh: The Stationery Office.

Scottish Executive (2005) National Priorities Website (accessed March 2005)

Scottish Executive (2004) A Curriculum for Excellence. Edinburgh: The Scottish Executive.

Sign (2005) Website of the National Society for Mental Health and Deafness (accessed April 2005)

Swift, J.N. & Gooding, C.T. (1983)  ‘Wait Time and Questioning Skills of Middle School Science Teachers’, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 20, 721-730.

Wellington, J. (2000) Teaching and learning secondary science – contemporary issues and practical approaches. London: Routledge.


Appendix 1

Expected ages of attaining 5-14 levels

(‘P’=Primary; ‘S’=secondary)

5-14 LEVEL



Level A

P1-P3 (most pupils)


Level B

P3 (some)

P4 (most)



Level C

P4-P6 (most)


Level D

P5-P6 (some)

P7 (most)



Level E

P7-S1 (some)

S2 (most)



Level F

P7-S2 (in part by some and in full by a few pupils)


Appendix 2: Strategies used by deaf children in accessing the curriculum

Pupils may use different strategies/combinations of strategies in different situations.   Variables include:

Availability of specialist access services (staff and/or equipment).

English-based strategies:

  • Hearing aids;
  • Cochlear implants;
  • Radio aids (body worn/’microlink’ etc);
  • Soundfield systems;
  • Loop systems.


  • Direct (ie lipreading the mainstream teacher);
  • Support worker* lipspeaking.

Reading text

  • All written curriculum materials;
  • Support worker* note-taking;
  • Electronic note-taker (rare – more common in further/higher education);
  • Subtitled videos.

Sign Supported English (SSE)/Signed English (SE)

  • Direct (ie pupil/mainsteam teacher communicates in SSE/SE – mostly in special schools/units);
  • Support worker* communicating in SSE.

British Sign Language-based strategies:

  • Direct (ie pupil/teacher communicate in BSL – mostly in special schools/units)
  • BSL/English interpreter*
  • Deaf support worker (who may act as both teacher and interpreter)

* The pupil’s visiting teacher of deaf children may sometimes fulfil these roles, as well as providing English tutorial support, assessing/monitoring pupil access and advising mainstream staff.


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